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Secrets of the molecular makeup of cannabis

September 30, 2019

High levels of cannabidiol (CBD) in cannabis can offset the neuropsychiatric effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by preventing activation of an emotional processing pathway, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

Previous research has shown that strains of cannabis with high levels of THC and low levels of CBD have increased neuropsychiatric effects, but the exact relationship between CBD and THC was not understood. Hudson et al. investigated the role of the protein ERK, which triggers a signaling pathway implicated in the neuropsychiatric effects of THC.

Rats that were given THC had higher levels of activated ERK, showed more anxiety behaviors, and were more sensitive to fear-based learning. Rats that were given both CBD and THC acted like the control rats: they had normal levels of activated ERK, less anxiety behaviors, and were less sensitive to fear-based learning.

Based on these results, the research team proposes that THC activates ERK while CBD inhibits it. Increased levels of active ERK could disrupt emotional processing, leading to increased anxiety and fear learning.
-end-
Manuscript title: Cannabidiol Counteracts the Psychotropic Side-Effects of Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in the Ventral Hippocampus Through Bi-Directional Control of ERK1-2 Phosphorylation

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About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

Society for Neuroscience

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